Israel’s Sharon Urges ‘Elimination’ of Arafat
Industry Minister Ariel Sharon called on the government today to “eliminate” PLO chief Yasser Arafat to end the Palestinian uprising and revive the Middle East peace process.
Speaking to reporters in this small Israeli town on a strategic plateau captured from Syria, Sharon renewed his demands for strong steps to end the 19-month Palestinian uprising, which has claimed the lives of 565 Palestinians and 36 Israelis.
“We have to stop using slogans, dishing out promises and handing out tranquilizers. The time has come to deal with terror and violence,” Sharon said.
‘We Are in a War’
“I think we are in a war, it’s a different kind of war but a war,” he said. “The most important thing is to restore law and order, to bring an end to terror and violence called the intifada (Arabic for uprising).”
Sharon, a member of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s right-wing Likud Party, said the government must also “eliminate the heads of the terrorist organizations, first of all, Arafat.”
Unless this is done, he said, “I do not see any real possibility of arriving at peace or starting a peace process.”
It was not Sharon’s first threat against the chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization. On Jan. 28, he said on Israel radio that “there will be no peace as long as Arafat lives.”
A 61-year-old retired general, Sharon is also a former defense minister who spearheaded Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon to rout PLO guerrilla strongholds from that country. He was forced out of the post in 1983 when an Israeli inquiry commission found him indirectly responsible for the slayings of hundreds of Palestinians by Israeli-backed forces in the Sabra and Chattilla refugee camps in Beirut.
In the occupied Gaza Strip, soldiers today blew up the homes of two Palestinians suspected of fatally stabbing an Israeli building contractor on Friday, the army said.